Quilter’s Block…Does It Exist?

quilters block

As many of you know, my youngest son David is a fantasy/sci-fi writer.  This fact has made reading about writing very interesting to me.  Today I read an article about writer’s block, and it made me decide post about “Quilter’s Block”.  I believe many creative people face a block in their ability to move forward from time to time. I have just been through a period of about three months of this myself.  I finally think I got over it just a few days ago and have become productive again.  I simply could not get going on a project, any project.  My work on my books crawled, my design work was never even approaching right, and my mind flew around from one concept to another.

In my humble opinion, uneducated in the ways of psychiatry, but having figured out what I think makes me have such problems, I believe that quilter’s block may be brought about by negativity about one’s work, or stress in other parts of one’s life, or letting the deadlines–some of which are self-imposed–become overwhelming.  When I finally realized this is what I was facing, and not that I was having some kind of illness or something, I started trying to break it down in several ways.

  • I took some judges negative comments and tried very hard to look at my quilts objectively and see if they were right  I think that some of them were well justified and some of them made no sense.  So I discarded the ones that made no sense and tried to see what I could to fix the existing quilts and put the comments on my list to watch for for future quilts.  Then I took their positive comments as truth.  🙂
  • I finally got my oral surgery issue put behind me when I got my stitches out last week.  That was probably contributing.
  • I spent some time to unsubscribe to all the email lists that build up from websites I never really subscribed to, but may have either searched on them or bought something from.  So my junk email has been greatly reduced.  I also unsubscribed to groups on Facebook so I could see what my friends wrote..though that was only partially successful in that I still miss stuff.
  • I did a little cleaning…not enough, but it took care of some of the things that were particularly bothering me.
  • I put aside a quilt project I was trying to get started that I never could get going…my dark forest three dimensional quilt.  I will come back to it later maybe, but maybe not too.

After this, I started my Sashiko/Ikebana project by finally deciding to embroider the background Sashiko blocks by machine. I got reassurances from OESD that I can use this embroidery in for quilts I compete with or sell.  The background is based on a grid of 5 inches to come up with an irregular layout in acknowledgement of the origin of Sashiko…to mend fisherman’s and fireman’s jackets in old Japan that sometimes required irregular sized patches.  This layout will have 5 x 5, 5×10, and 10×10 inch blocks of various colors of Peppered Cotton.  Once I complete the background layout, I will reverse applique in a moon or fan  in front of which I will applique a large Japanese Ikebana arrangement possibly based on the one I did in Kanazawa that won me a ribbon.  I will digitally paint the vase and use applique or even broiderie perse for the flowers.   I will probably work out the Ikebana design using Corel Painter 15, but maybe not.  This is a kind of design as I go quilt and I am not sure whether it is a show quilt or not…I’ll make it as if it were and decide later.

Since the Sashiko/Ikebana quilt requires a LOT of machine embroidery, I am able to work on my book and my design for another quilt while I do that.  It only slows me down slightly.  Gibbs (my Bernina 830 LE) is ok as long as I don’t get too far away.  If I go downstairs or am unreachable, he throws a tantrum and breaks a needle or gets the thread all discombobulated.  LOL So staying close by while at my computer is a good plan.

Sew happy everyone!  If you get into a quilter’s block try to figure out what is causing it and find a way to fix it.  Maybe it’s just you are frustrated with the quilt you are working on and need to give yourself permission to leave it behind.